DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV.com PLC.
Richard Swinford is Partner of Arthur D. Little, an international management consulting firm.
As Europe turns 60, it is time to look forward to the next chapter. How do we ensure that a future-proof communications infrastructure is built to underpin trade within the Digital Single Market?
As the distribution of global economic output spreads regionally and recent political developments create external stresses on trade agreements, flows of goods and interconnected economies, it is essential that Europe has a first-class communications infrastructure. This infrastructure will form the foundations of both the Digital Single Market as a leading global economy and the cradle for the emergence of an inclusive and progressive Gigabit Society.
In Connectivity for a Competitive Digital Single Market – Towards a European Gigabit Society, the European Commission set out its view on the importance of “high performance” internet connectivity for the Digital Single Market and the need for Europe to now deploy the networks required for its digital future. Whilst the Commission does emphasise the importance of future-proof digital infrastructure, and does cite businesses alongside schools, libraries, research centres, and various public service buildings as key locations where it wishes to see such deployments, it is clear the commercial competitiveness of Europe will be defined, at least in part, by the digital readiness of its enterprises.
With this in mind, we asked more than 30 European companies from eight industry sectors for their views on connectivity and their plans for the future. We learned that future proof, fibre-based connectivity and evolving mobile technologies, leading to 5G networks, were already part of their development roadmaps or essential to their expectations of the European communications infrastructure needed to facilitate their growth.